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The Lorenzo Effect

The Lorenzo Effect

A dominant Jorge Lorenzo won at the Catalan GP to make it four in a row, but what effect is his pace having on his rivals?

Movistar Yamaha’s Lorenzo has been simply unstoppable in the last four races. After an awful start to the season that saw him plagued by issues for the first three races, no one has had an answer to the Spaniards pace since.

At the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, local hero Lorenzo made it four consecutive race wins and equalled Mike Hailwood’s record of 37 premier class victories in front of 97,000 partisan fans.

This is the first time Lorenzo has managed to win four races in a row, and in achieving this feat he also broke Casey Stoner's record for the most laps led consecutively in a race (83), with Lorenzo having now managed to lead the last 103 laps across the line.

Although Lorenzo appeared to be in complete control, he revealed afterwards that was not the case: “To be honest, the last ten laps of today‘s race were probably one of the most hard and intense laps of my career. Valentino was very fast and knowing that the track was really hot and there was less grip than yesterday, I‘m happy with the results.”

What is interesting is the effect Lorenzo's pace is having on his rivals. The only person who could get anywhere near Lorenzo during the race was his teammate Rossi, who has had to change the whole way in which he approaches a race weekend in an effort to get closer to Lorenzo at the start, and it almost worked.

Lorenzo must have experienced Déjà vu when his pit board told him Rossi was closing on him during the latter stages in a scene reminiscent of the 2009 race, when the Italian beat him at the very last corner: “When he reduced the gap from 2.0s to 1.4s I was really worried that I would lose this race. I needed to push and risk more while the bike was already moving a lot, which is what I did in the last ten laps.”

Rossi himself admitted he had, once again, given Lorenzo too much of a head start: “I was good in the beginning of the race when I was overtaking and I was fast, but it was not enough, because when I arrived to the second position Jorge already had a 1.5s gap. It‘s a great shame because I had the pace to fight with him and I could have been very strong in a battle, because I was very strong in braking.

Rossi, however, does appear to be getting closer to his teammate’s pace: “I am happy as I had a good pace, good setting, my speed is equal in the race today to Jorge, that is a good target. After seven races, we have one point difference and a similar pace, so it will be interesting I think!”

Lorenzo now trails Rossi by just one point in the Championship standings, in what appears to be turning into a two horse race. The problem is, unless Rossi can find a solution to his Qualifying woes, he will find it hard to catch Lorenzo come race day.

Someone who felt the full effect of Lorenzo’s race-pace was Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez. Marquez was the one rider who had looked like he might be able to stick with Lorenzo during the race. The Spanish rider, however, crashed out on just the third lap as he tried to keep up: “I tried to give 100% at my home race but I made a mistake trying to push too much, as I wanted to do well – at all costs – and these things can happen.”

The reigning MotoGP™ World Champion’s hopes of a third consecutive title now seem in tatters, as he is currently fifth in the standings, 69 points behind Rossi with just 11 races remaining.

To emphasise the apparent gulf in class between the Factory Yamaha’s and the rest of the field, Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa crossed the line in third over 18.5s behind the duo. Pedrosa took his first podium of the season, matching Mick Doohan’s record of 95 premier podiums in the process, as he continues his comeback from arm pump surgery: “I am very happy because it has been a very long process, we struggle a lot, suffer a lot in the last months, everything looked against me. I followed my heart and this was the right thing to do. I have made positive progress with each round. But finally some good results, especially in front of the home crowd was great.”

Although the former 125cc and 250cc World Champion is under no illusions about the task at hand: “It was impossible to follow Jorge and Valentino, because they were far ahead in terms of performance. We will try to pull back the gap a little for the coming races and see if in testing tomorrow we can find something positive – and understand the situation better.”

The rest of the paddock will have a chance to try to close the gap on the Factory Yamaha team at the official test on Monday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Check out the full MotoGP™ race results, next up is the Motul TT Assen on the 27th June.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2015, GRAN PREMI MONSTER ENERGY DE CATALUNYA, RAC, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, Repsol Honda Team

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